Darkness loomed all around me as I contemplated sharing my abortion story with my church family. There was a heaviness on me. Nausea overcame me at the thought of sharing my "secret". The medium was harmless enough. I wouldn't have to speak. A flat piece of cardboard would be my voice. However, that small brown rectangle would contain words that could forever alter my world. The front read:
"Abortion at 19, locked in a prison of shame and guilt."
How could a little paper box top be so heavy?
Trying to get this decision off my mind, that night we decided to watch the movie, Narnia, for family movie night. As I watched the movie, I realized it was no coincidence we were watching this particular movie this particular night. We came to the battle scene at the end and I saw clearly what was happening: There was a fight going on in the heavenlies. There was a battle raging. Forces of darkness fighting to keep me silent while angelic forces were fighting for my freedom.
After the movie I knew I had to share my testimony. I knew it might not be easy and honestly, that little piece of cardboard was too heavy for me to bear on my own. I needed the One who is strong when we are weak--Jesus.
It was time for rehearsal. My stomach began to feel queasy at the thought of my church family seeing my testimony. The enemy began his deceitful whispers...
What will they think? They will judge you. Surely, they will cast you aside in shame. They won't look at you the same again.
I stood in line behind other ladies with cardboards bearing their stories of redemption and grace. The lady in front of me noticed I wasn't feeling well. I told her I thought I might throw up and that I didn't know if I could go through with it. She gently encouraged me, "Let me see your cardboard." Reluctantly, I showed her my cardboard. Then, she leaned over and gently whispered, "I could have put that on my cardboard."
Immediately, I knew God had put me in that place and knew exactly what I needed to encourage me. She reminded me of why I was there. She reminded me of all the ladies like her, like me, who needed to hear about God's grace, mercy and forgiveness. She reminded me of my purpose in being there--FREEDOM for her and all the ladies who shared our story.
The front of the cardboard was only half of my story. The back of the cardboard held the truth of redemption.
I walked across the stage knowing God had placed me there. Knowing His purpose was far greater than my fears.
Jesus, carried the load for me, and lifted the heaviness of it.
I turned the cardboard over. On the back read:
"Forgiven and set free by the blood of Jesus."
As I turned it over, the cardboard became light and a weight was forever lifted.
There was a battle--one side wanting to keep me bound in chains and the other side wanting me free. The enemy doesn't want the truth about God's grace, forgiveness and mercy broadcasted. Satan would like nothing better than for those with this past sin or other sins to believe they are forever condemned to live with shame and guilt.
Yes, abortion is a grotesque sin. It leaves one with blood-stained hands. However, the blood of Jesus was shed even for those guilty of blood shed themselves. His blood washes our hands white as snow. So thankful for Jesus. So thankful for His grace, love and forgiveness. No, I don't deserve His grace, none of us do. But, He offers it freely none the less.
I want to encourage you today. If you are still living under condemnation due to past sin, give it to Him today. Receive the forgiveness and grace He died to give you. You are truly "Forgiven and set free by the blood of Jesus."
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony." Revelations 12:11
"Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow" Isaiah 1:18
"I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22